Music and Culture Minor

Faculty Program Supervisor: William Robin, Ph.D.

The Music and Culture Minor Program offers students from any discipline or major the opportunity to study the ways in which human cultural diversity is represented through music, and to learn how musical practices and values, including those embedded in the teaching and transmission of music, relate to core values in a particular culture or subculture. They will also develop skills in hearing, thinking about, analyzing, discussing, and writing about music and relating it to other aspects of human life.

The Program’s curriculum has three components: 1) courses that use the concepts, methods, and theoretical approaches of ethnomusicology (an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on music in culture and in global contexts) to explore diverse musical cultures and genres; 2) courses that provide more in-depth case studies of particular musical cultures or regions; and 3) world music ensemble courses that complement knowledge about musical practices with embodied knowledge of how they are transmitted and performed.

Course Title Credits
Any two 2xx-level courses in Musicology and Ethnomusicology including: 16
Popular Music in Black America
The Impact of Music on Life
World Popular Musics and Identity
Selected Musical Cultures of the World
Exploring the Power of Musical Performance in Social Engagement
Three 400-level courses, including at least two of the MUSC438 area studies courses. 29
Recent offerings include:
Music of Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador
Music of the Balkans
Music in the Middle East
Mexican and Mexican/American Music
Music of Southeast Asia
Music of China and Japan
The following courses may also be used to satisfy this requirement:
MUSC448F Music and Film in Cross-Cultural Perspectives
Performance Courses 34
Four semesters of World Music Ensembles. The following courses have been approved:
MUSC129G Ensemble: Balinese Gamelan
MUSC129K Ensemble: Japanese Koto
MUSC129L Ensemble: Advanced Japanese Koto
MUSC129Q Ensemble: Korean Percussion
Total Credits19

These courses also satisfy General Education requirements, usually in Humanities and Plural Societies.

In consultation with the Coordinator of Ethnomusicology, other courses may be substituted.


Each of these courses covers a different geographic area, and their topics vary from semester to semester (at least three different MUSC438 courses are generally offered over any two-year period).


Other than in the Advanced Japanese Koto class (or other advanced classes that may be added in the future), none of these classes require any prior performance experience. All of these ensemble courses may be repeated for credit, but students must take ensembles from at least two different culture areas. Other performance courses (including dance) may be substituted on a case-by-case basis. Other courses approved as World Music Ensembles are added.


No more than six credits may be applied to satisfy both the requirements of this minor and a student’s major program. So long as this rule is followed, a student majoring in Music (BM, BME, or BA) may add this minor. No course used to satisfy this minor may be used to satisfy another minor. All courses in the minor must be completed with a minimum grade of C-. A minimum cumulative grade point average of C (2.00) must be obtained across the courses in the minor.